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We've heard the following:
• There's a secret morgue containing dozens of unidentified bodies. Not true.
• Air traffic was being controlled to avoid film of dozens of bodies floating offshore. Not true.
• Policemen working rescue duty were literally wading through the dead in knee-high water. Not true.
• Ball High School burned down Monday. Not true.
• Water won't be back on for a month. Probably not true.
These kinds of rumors are the price city and Federal Emergency Management Administration officials pay for alienating and ignoring the public and media personnel who are trying to tell the story.
The city's priority today is efficiency of operations for those in the recovery effort, which is fine, and a desperate effort to avoid embarrassment for the Republican administration in charge of FEMA. It is, after all, about six weeks from a presidential election. Nobody wants another Katrina at this time. What that means is the focus of those in charge of recovery is to get on with the recovery. That's good, and as it should be. But the other main focus, avoiding embarrassment, leads to disrespect for the news media personnel attempting to cover the story. And it leads officials to be less concerned about the fear and anxiety of those who are away from home than they should be. And it leads them, frankly, to be less than candid. Inside meetings of the people running Galveston's recovery, some joke about shoving the media out of the way. They speak of reporters "infiltrating" meetings of the high muckety-mucks running things. Can't have that. Attendees at those meetings are cautioned they may not speak to anyone, not even family, about what goes on inside the recovery management team.
Originally posted by roadgravel
It's Wednesday morning and it appears the Galveston paper website is down.
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:32 am Post subject: Anyone else get their FEMA application marked as 'no damage?
I filled out the online form and put 'unknown' when it asked about damage. Now that it's processed it has me filed as no damage. How is it possible that anyone in Galveston is filed as no damage? Every house was damaged.
When I call the help line, it just says all operators are busy, refers me to their website, and hangs up. The website offers no recourse to fix this. I get this over and over again.
Posted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 12:56 am Post subject:
same exact thing here.
FEMA = sucks.
GALVESTON — Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas extended her own emergency powers for another seven days on Wednesday morning after a fight between two council members broke the four-person quorum necessary for the group to take any action.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Beeton questioned the mayor’s request to extend her emergency powers, saying the city needed to return to a representative form of government as soon as possible to give the city’s residents a voice in the decisions their leaders are making.
Councilman Danny Weber told Beeton she was clueless about how to operate the city during a disaster and accused her of trying to turn the city’s operations into a media circus. The inability of the council to pass a simple motion about the disaster declaration, because of Beeton’s questions and criticism, proves that the mayor still needs to be the only one calling the shots, Weber said.
Weber then pushed his chair back from the makeshift council meeting table, set up in the lobby of the Galveston County Justice Center, and said, “I’m out of here.”
Without having a quorum of council members, the mayor has the authority to extend her own emergency powers for another seven days.
‘Please don’t do this’
When Thomas realized Beeton did not want to extend the city’s declaration of local disaster, she begged her to change her mind.
“Please don’t do this, Elizabeth, please,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion and her eyes filling with tears. “I can’t even explain how heart-rending the decisions are that I have to make. But please don’t cut this city off, please.”
The local declaration of disaster is not necessary for the city to get access to state and federal aid, but it is necessary for city officials to have some control over the decisions that are being made, City Attorney Susie Green told the council.
Without having a voice at the table, the city would be at the mercy of state and federal officials, Green said.
Beeton wanted to extend the declaration for just two more days, giving the three absent council members time to get back to the island to help make decisions.
But Green said she did not know whether state law allowed the council to extend the declaration for any period less than seven days.
Thomas, Beeton, Weber and Susan Fennewald apparently are the only council members in the city. Thomas said she did not know where Linda Colbert, Tarris Woods or Karen Mahoney were.
The mayor detailed how difficult her job has been the past week.
"All of this has been step by step by step," Thomas said. She paused for a few seconds then tearfully continued, "I don't need this job. I didn't ask for it."
Originally posted by Valhall
A survivor account from Cystal Beach.
I am appalled at the way this recovery is being handled. The mayor and the city mgr. must have a really poor view of the citizens of this city. Do you actually think the citizens would not want to come back to see what they have? And the "search and rescue/recovery" effort.. Was that just a ruse to kick in the doors of peoples' houses and see what they had? In 50 years in this same house the house has not been broken into... Until this week.. And the mess that was left behind...OMG...And this was not from the storm... The mayor and city mgr as well as the all the photo-op people need to be taken out back and ... You use YOUR imagination... — By ruben james on Sep. 17 at 9:27 AM
Originally posted by irongunner
Normal rational people here are already back at work... in fact this is my second day back at the University of Houston.